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Originally published Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 1:01 PM

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Hike of the week: Ingalls Creek near Blewett Pass

Eleven-mile roundtrip hike has roaring water, views of Stuart Mountains.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Hike of the week: Ingalls Creek near Blewitt Pass Blewitt? You mean Blewett, don't... MORE
@seattle native2 Thanks; this has been corrected. Amy Bergstrom seattletimes.com MORE

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Many will head outdoors to enjoy the fresh air and soak up the springtime sights of the Cascades during Memorial Day weekend.

Ingalls Creek near Blewett Pass is a wonderful hike that covers 11 miles round trip, and can be enjoyed by hikers as well as backpackers looking for an extended trip in the woods.

The first part of the trail — with an elevation gain of 1,450 feet to the highest point of 3,450 feet — is moderate, with spring blooms of calypso orchids, trillium, balsamroot and glacier lilies.

The adjacent creek along the trail is roaring this time of the year with snowmelt, and visitors can take in excellent views of the Stuart mountain range still heavily covered with the white stuff.

Hikers can access the trail to Falls Creek, which is located less than six miles from the start, and is a great stopover for campers or day hikers looking for a place to sit back and enjoy their lunch.

It's an ideal family backpacking destination in spring and summer, because one doesn't need to hike far (or very laboriously) to reach campsites along the trail and creekside.

One note of caution: During spring, visitors should stay away from the swift, cold water of the creek, given last weekend's rescue at Wallace Falls.

A Northwest Forest Pass permit $5 daily or $30 annually is required at Ingalls Creek. There is a fee box with permits available at the trailhead or ranger stations.

Directions: Head east on I-90 from Seattle to Ellensburg, and then north onto U.S. 97 to Swauk-Blewett Pass for about 12.5 miles to Ingalls Creek Road. Turn left and head about one mile to the trailhead where the road ends. For current trip reports from hikers on this trail, go to http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/ingalls-creek.

Other upcoming outdoor events:

• Trout Unlimited, Patagonia and Sage Fly Rods are hosting a free event titled Save Bristol Bay 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Patagonia Store, 2100 First Avenue in Seattle. The event is to raise awareness of the huge mining operation at Bristol Bay that is home to one of the largest sockeye runs in the world. There will be discussions, fly-fishing company representatives, and fly-tying and fly rod demonstrations. For details, call 206-622-9700.

• The Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance's Mountain Bike Festival Summit Ridge BikePalooza is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 10 at 29000 Maple Valley Highway in Black Diamond. There will be free bike demos, poker race for all abilities, technical skills challenge, slow race, kid's race, raffles, food concessions and latest mountain biking gear. Trails and free-ride park will be open. For details, visit www.evergreenmtbfestival.com or 206-524-2900.

• Come learn about one of the most mysterious creatures in the sea at the Celebrate Sharks event this Friday to Tuesday at the Seattle Aquarium, 1483 Alaskan Way on Pier 59 in Seattle. For details, visit www.seattleaquarium.org.

• The Washington State Parks and Recreation is hosting the Discover Outer Space event 3 p.m. to sunset June 5 at Goldendale Observatory State Park, 1602 Observatory Drive in Goldendale. Visitors can view the rare orbit of Venus traveling past the face of the sun. The last time this occurred was in 2004, and won't happen again until December of 2117. A Discover Pass Permit is required to attend this event. For details, call 509-773-3141 or www.parks.wa.gov/events.

• The Washington Sea Grant and the Gig Harbor Boat Shop are hosting a Coast Guard-approved First Aid at Sea course 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 8 at the Eddon Boatyard, 3805 Harborview Dr. in Gig Harbor. Cost is $80 ($40 for active commercial fishermen). Preregistration is required. For details, call 206-543-1225.

• As reminder as the weather warms up and many are headed out on the water, all children 12-and-under are required to wear a Coast Guard approved life jacket on vessels less than 19-feet long. A life jacket must be on board for each person older than age 12.

Seattle Parks and Recreation is offering low cost life jackets June 16, July 21, Aug. 18 and Sept. 15, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Evans Pool, 7201 E. Green Lake Dr. North in Seattle. Cost for infant to youth large is $20, and for teens to adults is $30. For details, call 206-684-7440 or email at diane.jones@seattle.gov.

• With the recent warm weather there is now a very high avalanche danger on Mount St. Helens. Climbers who had plans to head up the mountain will be refunded the climbing permit fee. A climbing ranger will be on the mountain to update climbers, and information will also be posted at the Climbing Register at Lone Fire Resort and Marble Mountain Sno-Park. For details, call 360-449-7800 or visit the Monument Headquarters in Amboy. Get weather date by visiting www.nwac.us/weatherdata/mtsthelens/now/.

• The Washington Butterfly Association free lecture titled "Butterflies of China" with Dr. Robert Pyle is 7 p.m. June 9 at the Center for Urban Horticulture, 3501 N.E. 41st St. in Seattle. For details, call 206-364-4935 or go to www.naba.org/Chapters/nabaws.

• The Washington Waterfowl Association in the Yakima Valley is hosting the Washington State Duck Calling Championship 7 a.m. Aug. 25 at Columbia Park in Kennewick. For details, call 509-786-9196.

• The Ski to Sea Race and Festival in the Bellingham area is May 26-27. This seven-legged relay race covers 90 miles with 500 teams participating in seven sports.

The relay race starts with cross-country skiing and downhill skiing/snowboarding on Mount Baker, transitions to running and road biking down the mountain, canoeing (two-man) along the Nooksack River, mountain biking from Ferndale to Bellingham's waterfront and ends with kayaking in Bellingham Bay.

The festival includes a parade, car show and block party, culminates with the Fairhaven Festival. For details, visit www.skitosea.com.

• The 114th anniversary of the North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park in Ilwaco is 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 19 at 244 Robert Gray Drive in Ilwaco. A Discover Pass is required to attend this event. For details, visit 360-665-5580.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

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